Thursday, May 22, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop: Stone in the Garden

I love stone in the garden. It is the perfect complement to all of my plants. As a part of this month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop over at Gardening Gone Wild, here is a brief post about how I have slowly replaced man-made materials with stone throughout my garden.
1. The Bluestone Paths, Stairs, and Walls. If you garden on a hill, a stone staircase cannot be beat for practical and aesthetic reasons. They are beautiful and maintenance free. Compared to the small staircase of railroad ties that I have in a less prominent part of the garden, the stone staircase is much more attractive and will never need to be replaced.

As I wrote in a post last month, I have just completed a four year project to redesign my Front Border. The most dramatic change was to replace the relatively unattractive and uneven man-made path of interlocking pavers with a continuation of the bluestone paths and stairs on Goldberry Hill. I am so pleased with the outcome, I only wonder why it took me so long to do it.
2. The Pebble Path. I love pebble paths, but it is difficult to have them when you live and garden on a slope, as I do.
The one path that is relatively flat is the one through the Egg Garden, where I replaced some terra cotta stepping stones with pebbles. When I look back at the posted before and after pictures, I can't believe how much better the pebbles look.
When I first conceived of the path, my first choice was the grey pea gravel that you see in all of those English gardens, but my local nursery was out of stock. As an alternative, I selected yellow river stones, with which I have been very pleased.
3. The Dry Laid Walls of Native Stones. If you have ever visited my region of New Jersey, you will see orange rocks everywhere: on the sides of the road, on the edges of properties, and even on the edges of garden beds. Every time I try to dig a hole, they are waiting for me: small, medium, large, and even giant-sized orange rocks. And unlike those beautiful, grey rocks that can be handsomely stacked into walls, these rocks are so unshapely that it's impossible to dry lay them more than one or two layers high, which is exactly what I did to create the walls in my Walled Garden.
Two end notes: First, if you want to see a garden with a lot of beautiful stone, check out fsorin's inspiring post on Gardening Gone Wild. Second, have you ever wondered where all of the bluestone comes from? There was an interesting article last week in the New York Times about some of the local tri-state area quarries.


Frances, said...

What beautiful stonework! Your bluestone steps are the stuff of dreams, and coming down to the bluestone path is perfection. I love the color of the orange stones, they call it brown here, but it looks exactly the same as yours. Our gravel is called brown 57, meaning it is assorted sizes, we should have gotten pea size, buth this was much cheaper and we needed a lot of it. We are still working on the last of the paths on the slope, with gravel and six by sixes to for informal type steps to hold the gravel in place. Your garden is a gorgeous!

Frances at Faire Garden

tina said...

Those stairs are beautiful and will last forever. It will be fun seeing everyone's use of stone in their gardens. Thanks for sharing.

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Thanks for inspiring pictures - I do agree with you: stone goes very well with plants!

Heather's Garden said...

Very pretty. I too read that NY Times article with great interest. I never knew that bluestone was only in the Northeast. And imagine that they use the same techniques as their grandfathers!

joey said...

How lovely. You must be delighted! I have much stonework that after many years needs a 'face lift'. I especially love the stairs since my 'oldies but goodies', though photogenic, are treacherous to walk on.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You have some great stonework in your garden HG. I even like your regional rocks. I would have much more stone in the garden if I could afford it. I live on a small flat lot. I do have one small, short pea gravel path and I love it. It is in an area that gets lots of travel and woodchips always waste or wash away way too fast. I even like to hear the crunch of the gravel. It sounds cool during the summer and during winter freezes and thaws it keeps the mud off our feet.

Less is More said...

Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinners , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .

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